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Hawaii braces for economic forecast after tsunami

By Mark Niesse

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:39 p.m. HST, Mar 29, 2011

Hawaii's economic forecasters are meeting to figure out how bad off the state is following a tsunami that resulted in a decline of Japanese tourists.

The Council on Revenues planned to create a revised projection Tuesday that will be used to shape Hawaii's budget deficit.

Earlier this month, the council's figures showed drops in tax revenue would increase the deficit to nearly $1 billion.

But that prediction came several hours before the tsunami that altered the state's economic and political landscape.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration has been estimating the state will face a $1.3 billion shortfall over the next two years.

A decline in Japanese vacation will reduce the amount of money spent and taxes collected, leading lawmakers to consider raising taxes and cutting government. Yesterday, Japan Airlines announced it was cutting flights to Hawaii by a third starting next month.

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